In addition, a lightweight faceoff pitting Goiti Yamauchi (19-3) against Ryan Couture (10-4) completes the SPIKE-televised main card. The first of what will be a stacked preliminary card is also official, with the news that Ricky “The Sniper” Rainey (11-4) will fight Gilbert “Chocolate Thunder” Smith (12-5). Additional undercard bouts will be announced shortly.
Since signing with Bellator MMA, the calm and subdued Kato has been in nothing but absolute barn burners once the cage door shuts. The exciting fights have even transcended combat sport iterations, when at “Bellator MMA: Dynamite 2” Kato delivered a spinning back fist that stopped Joe Schilling in his tracks, the second finish in as many tries for “The Japanese Musketeer” against “Stitch Em’ Up.” Currently situated in France, the 33-year-old has had one MMA contest thus far in 2016, stopping Yuta Watanabe in April.
When he’s not traveling the world in an effort to learn everything there is to know about the different martial arts disciplines, Matthews is putting his skills to the test under the Bellator MMA umbrella. A veteran of Strikeforce, “The Mercenary” has laced up the gloves seven times previously for the Viacom-owned promotion, stopping his opponent in all but one of his victories. Primarily training at Alliance MMA throughout his career, Matthews has spent much of his time as of late in Thailand, even taking a Muay Thai bout before meeting Ben Reiter at “Bellator 156: Galvao vs. Dantas 2.”
At just 23-years-old, Yamauchi is one of the premiere young talents in the sport of MMA today. Prior to joining Bellator MMA, the Japanese submission specialist amassed an unfathomable 14-1 record with 11 submissions and one knockout. Since merging with the Scott Coker-led promotion, Yamauchi has strung together a promising mark of 5-2 with three rear-naked choke submissions. Of his 19 career wins, 15 have come by way of submission, while no opponent has yet been able to finish the elusive fighter. Yamauchi will now jump up in weight class and join the lightweight division for a clash with one of the most legendary last names in MMA, Couture.
Known to many as the son of former world champion Randy Couture, Ryan has made 14 professional appearances over his career, all of which took place under the bright lights of a national promotion like Strikeforce or Bellator MMA. Residing in Las Vegas, the 34-year-old submission specialist enters the cage having won four of his past five contests, with each of his victories coming by way of rear-naked choke submission. Although there is a noticeable age difference between his opponent, Yamauchi made his professional debut a mere two months after Couture, in October of 2010.
Complete “Bellator 162: Shlemenko vs. Grove” Main Card:
Middleweight Main Event: Alexander Shlemenko (53-9) vs. Kendall Grove (23-15)
Heavyweight Co-Main Event: Bobby Lashley (14-2) vs. Josh Appelt (12-5)
Middleweight Feature Bout: Hisaki Kato (6-2) vs. A.J. Matthews (8-5)
Lightweight Feature Bout: Goiti Yamauchi (19-3) vs. Ryan Couture (10-4)
Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Ricky Rainey (11-4) vs. Gilbert Smith (12-5)